Bernicia Excellence Awards winners

Many congratulations to all our exceptional colleagues who were honoured as winners at the Bernicia Excellence Awards 2023.

Winners were presented with their trophies and prizes at a celebration event held at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, celebrating the very best of Bernicia.

The excellence awards encompassed the whole of Bernicia Group – the housing association and the companies within our commercial arm – that’s block management specialist Kingston, award-winning estate agent Living Spaces and estate management specialist Open Spaces.

Attended by around 80 colleagues, the event showcased the work of our brilliant people and the exceptional effort of those for who going the extra mile for tenants and colleagues is all in a day’s work.

Here’s our scroll of honour for the winners of the Bernicia Excellence Awards 2023 in the words of their colleagues who nominated them:


Unsung Hero: Gail Yearman, Cleaner

Gail is such a hard-working colleague, although she is always busy, she is lovely to speak to. She often goes above and beyond without being asked. She does a fantastic job keeping our offices clean. Customer service is clearly one of her priorities and we’re very lucky to have her.

Inspirational Colleague: Aurore Nzafio, Communications Officer

Aurore has significantly supported the People agenda by helping to shape and effectively communicate colleague wellbeing and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. She is a delight to work with. Aurore’s input, proactiveness and positive approach is inspiring, she has made such a positive impact and no request is a problem despite a busy workload.

Excellent Newcomer: Shannon Etherington, Accounts Assistant (Kingston)

Shannon has already become an integral part of the corporate finance team despite only joining us six months ago. She is a very quick learner which has allowed her to excel in her role, taking on many tasks in such a short space of time. Shannon has settled into the finance team and Kingston extremely well and is valued and well respected amongst her peers.

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Justin White, Business Admin Apprentice

Justin joined the Compliance Team as a supported intern visiting one day a week alongside his college tutor, building this up over time to where he is now with us five days a week with no individual tutor/support. He has autism and ADHD, over the course of the last 12 months he has stuck to his learner’s agreement, grown in confidence and learned invaluable life skills. He has overcome so many personal challenges and brings a smile to so many faces.

Bright Ideas: Theresa Stapleton, Customer Contact Advisor

Theresa has only been in the business for just over a year, in that time she has become a role model contact centre agent.  Theresa has been proactive in upskilling herself and her colleagues, making suggestions about how we can improve to the benefit of customers and colleagues.

Customer Service Excellence Meg Smith, Senior Assistant Property Manager (Kingston)

Meg is everyone’s go to. She has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that she is always willing to share.  Clients love her, colleagues value her opinion, and she manages to keep everyone happy without even looking flustered. She is always helping clients and colleagues in any way that she can and strives to give the best service possible.

Working Together Award: PMC Gas team

The gas team work extremely hard to ensure they meet the demanding expectations of compliance and reactive repairs. They work well supporting each other and external teams. They are committed to ensuring our tenants are safe in their homes. They work very hard, often under extreme pressure.

Outstanding Team: Bernicia Living

The team has created a marketing strategy and modernised wording around the service and profession.  The team has found and embraced changes to their services and continue to deliver valuable, excellent services to their residents.

John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “The importance of these awards is underlined by the fact that the winners are nominated by their colleagues that they work with every day.

“Our colleagues are the foundation our success at Bernicia is built upon.”